Feature Article

Cowardly act, says Vallipunam survivor

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 07:54 GMT]
Paranthan Hindu Mahavidyalam student, Mary Arulappan Juliet, 18, a survivor of the August 14 Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Kfir jet attack which killed 51 girls and four staff at Sencholai children's home campus in Vallipunam in Mullaithivu district, in an interview to TamilNet Tuesday, said the attack was a "cowardly act," and appealed to the International Community to unreservedly condemn the Sri Lanka Government for the attack on school girls.

Sencholai attack interview
Ms Mary Arulappan Juliet, the 18 year-old survivor of the August 14 SLAF Kfir jet attack Sencholai.


Speaking at the TamilNet interview, Juliet said they were on a residential course, learning the necessary skills to administer First aid to people in an emergency especially to the sick and injured IDPs, and acquiring the skills necessary to provide emergency care to suffering persons before being transported for emergency medical treatment at hospitals.

"We were into the second day of our workshop on First aid and Disaster management skills. More than 400 school girls were in attendance at the 10-day workshop," Juliet said.

"It was 7 a.m., we were by the compound well, when we saw the Kfir jets far-away and thought that they heading to the battle theater elsewhere. Within a seconds we saw them heading directly to our centre and suddenly started bombing our premises.

"As the bombs fell, the girls ran in all directions, and took cover by lying on the ground face down, hoping that the bombers will go away after attacking once. But the Kfir jets returned firing additional munitions directed to our facility," Juliet added.

"There was chaos within the Sencholai premises with each round of bombing, as more students were getting wounded severely and getting killed. In between air strikes, the girls changed their cover locations by running to other positions to take better cover," said Juliet.

During lull periods in bombing, girls would run out to the aid of the wounded girls and to carry them to safer locations. Rescue efforts got interrupted several times by the sudden return of Kfir jets.

"It was on one such rescue attempt that I got injured in my hand, although slightly, when a stray shrapnel hit my hand," said Juliet.

Vallipunam
"In the aerial strikes, many died on the spot, and many were wounded, most had multiple injuries, some lost their limbs, some had severe burns. All the girls were pleading for help, pleading to be taken to a hospital," Juliet said.

Juliet blamed the Government of Sri Lanka(GOSL) for the attack and said that it was a "cowardly act."

"I still have memories of the jets and the desperate calls of the girls for help. Earlier, I feared at nothing, but after witnessing this horrific masscre, even slight noises frighten me," Juliet said.

When asked what message she would like to give to the international community, the 18 year-old, Ms Mary Arulappan Juliet, replied: "I would urge the international community to unreservedly condemn the Colombo government for the aerial attack, and to exert pressure on the GoSL to adhere to basic humanitarian principles."

schoolgirls killed

 

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